It should shock no one that Kanye has fallen under Donald Trump’s spell, and vice versa. Trump went on “Fox and Friends” on Thursday and praised Kanye’s “good taste.” They are kindred spirits. Kanye needs awards. Trump needs ratings. They both whine about the media, but create their own media firestorms. They are obsessed with adulation and become enraged if anyone disagrees with their so-called genius. Their birthdays are six days apart — they are two peas in a pop culture pod. Let’s call the duo TrumpYe.Here is the truth: If Kanye were a middle-class, 40-year-old black man living in Chicago who never blew up as a rapper, he would not be taking selfies in a Make America Great Again hat, a phrase that is a dog whistle to racists. This is not to say every Trump supporter is a racist, but anyone who supports the President — including Kanye — clearly doesn’t see the problem with the President’s racism or sexism.
But the Kanye who tweeted Wednesday, “You don’t have to agree with trump but the mob can’t make me not love him” is not the Kanye most people knew and loved. In 2004, he hit it big with “The College Dropout.” The album, his biggest-selling in the United States, dealt with faith, socioeconomics and class. He once rapped, “Things we buy to cover up what’s inside / ‘Cause they make us hate ourself and love they wealth” and “a white man get paid off of all of that.” Every track on his debut studio album is anti-Trumpism.We lost this Kanye long ago. Between demands for worship from the elite fashion world and epic Twitter meltdowns, he forgot his Chicago roots — and his wife, Kim Kardashian, isn’t to blame. Kanye Omari West was lost in the world well before joining the Kardashian clan. He is no longer the man who said what so many people of color were thinking after the mishandling of Hurricane Katrina: “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”
Mr. West’s latest rants prove how deeply far gone he is. After co-signing a black Trump supporter last Friday who idiotically claimed in March that the National Rifle Association was a civil rights organization to fight the Ku Klux Klan, he spoke to Ebro Darden from Hot 97, saying, “I love Donald Trump.” Where did this love come from? A clue might be President Barack Obama not stroking Kanye’s celebrity ego. The rapper whined to Darden, “Well, I reached out to Obama for years and I couldn’t get anything done, but Trump gave me a meeting.” Yep, Kanye believes he was entitled to a meeting with a sitting president just because he is rich and famous. How very Trump-like of him. Mr. West is a prime example of a person who achieves wealth and adopts the conservative values that will help him keep it.
You may ask “If Kanye once believed Bush didn’t care about black people, how can he possibly support Donald Trump?”Recall that Trump was the spokesperson for the racist birther movement. The Justice Department sued him and his father, Fred Trump, for housing discrimination in the 1970s (a case they settled without admitted wrongdoing). Speaking of Fred Trump, in 1927, he was arrested after a Klan rally in New York (though historical context is unclear on what his role was that day). In 1989, Trump wrongfully pushed for the death penalty for the Central Park Five, telling Larry King “maybe hate is what we need if we’re going to get something done.” When the men were exonerated, he insisted they were guilty in 2013. In 2014, he wrote an op-ed calling New York City’s settlement with the cleared men “a disgrace,” and he again defended his actions during the 2016 campaign.
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